Thank you to NetGalley and StoriesUntold for this eARC!
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.*
*Summary from Goodreads!
- Title: The Crowns of Croswald
- Author: D.E. Night
- Publisher: Stories Untold
- Genre: Middle grade, fantasy, Childrens, Adventure
- Targeted Age Range: Middle grade
- Trigger warnings: Parental death
- Rating: ★★★☆☆
The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a fun, action packed novel perfect for young readers. It is filled with beautiful imagery, interesting characters and a page turning plot that will keep readers engaged and entertained. The world was interesting, building a magical world that was easy to understand and easy to follow. Our main character, Ivy, is thrust into a magical world with powers she didn’t know she had, leading to a fun filled adventure. The novel features fun magic, and an interesting magical boarding school to move the plot forward.
Ivy is an interesting character, blending childhood innocence and determination to push the plot forward. She has a love for knowledge, actively learning whatever comes her way with enthusiasm and passion. In classic ‘chosen one’ style, situations at the magical boarding school take a turn for the worse when Ivy arrives. Despite the hardships coming her way, Ivy attacks them all with determination, not allowing for any mishaps to ruin her time at the school. Ivy has a lovely friendship with Rebecca, with them instantly bonding and taking down the school bully – their friendship was one of the highlights of the book.
This novel was very obviously influenced by Harry Potter. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. There were parts of the novel that felt almost identical – including the town with the schooling shops, and the school bully even having the same first initial as Draco in Harry Potter. The close similarities makes it hard to fully immerse yourself in the world that The Crowns of Croswald is in, because a lot of the time you’re thinking about the world of Harry Potter.
One of the biggest let downs of this novel was the lack of diversity. For a world set in a highly magical climate, you’d expect there to be better diversity in the characters. While it’s important to have good diversity and representation in other genres, I personally believe it’s vital for middle grade. Books are a great tool for learning, so if we begin educating children about different cultures and other forms of representation, we can allow them to grow into intelligent and educated teenagers. It’s just disappointing that a book so lovely to read and so magical wouldn’t include a more diverse range of characters.
Ultimately, this novel was an interesting and easy read. While I’m not the set target audience for it, I found myself enjoying immersing myself within this magical world and loving the characters. If you have children, or know children this age, it’s the perfect book to pick up and get them excited for reading.